Sunshine in a bowl. That’s what I call masoor daal; yellow with turmeric and the warmth of a summers day to match.
Lentils are extremely good for you. They are small legumes high in fibre, protein and iron – great food for ensuring a nutrient healthy vegetarian diet. Extremely accessible and ludicrously cheap, lentils don’t take long to cook, and can be extremely versatile. Store them in your cupboards for rainy days and a bit of homeliness.
This is not a typical daal in which the tadka (tempering) is added after cooking the lentils. Instead, I have altered the recipe to accommodate more of a ‘soup’; spices and seasonings are fried beforehand, and then the lentils are cooked into the same pan. It results in a quite a different flavour to a standard daal, but I think it compliments the addition of leek perfectly, and I have also toned down the spice levels for a very mild taste.
Leek makes this daal even more comforting than it was before. Now with an added layer of creamy, smooth, soft texture, it is great served with aromatic basmati rice, eaten with a spoon as a soup, eaten with tiny pappad tidbits, chapati dipped into it … or my personal favourite, poured over English chips!
Indian Leek Masoor Daal Soup
Creamy, mild and warm lentil soup, perfect & quick for any day.
- 180g Masoor daal / Red split lentils
- ¾ one large leek
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 plum tomatos
- Grating of ginger
- ½ tsp mild chilli powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ coriander powder
- Few cumin seeds
- Sunflower oil / ghee
- Bunch of fresh coriander (garnish)
- Rinse the lentils with water until the water runs clear. Red split lentils are quite soft, so they don’t need to be pre-soaked like some lentils.
- If necessary, wash the insides of your leeks and then chop them into rounds.
- Heat a dash of sunflower oil in a medium sized saucepan. Once oil is hot add chopped leek and stir with a spoon, now add finely cut garlic cloves and continue to stir until cooked.
- Turning down the heat to low, tip slightly more oil into the pan and add quartered tomatoes, grated ginger, cumin seeds. And then dry spice powders one by one and stirring all the while, until they have cooked.
- Now add water to about half the height of your saucepan, and wait for it to boil. If you add the water before adding daal, it will be easier to digest.
- Once water is boiling add lentils and cook on high temperature, stirring occasionally, until they are cooked and soft but not falling apart.
- If more water is needed, add to your liking. Daal consistency should be neither thick nor thin and should be golden yellow in colour.
- If desired, puree into a soup. Alternatively eat like a traditional daal, with lentils still whole.
- Roughly chop coriander leaves and stir through the daal, leaving a few whole for extra garnish.